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Penn-Leiden Colloquia on Ancient Values IX. Eris vs. Aemulatio: Competition in Classical Antiquity -

Competition is everywhere these days. Resources and jobs are scarce, and the huge developments in communication techniques of the last decades have enlarged the domain of competition and encouraged incessant comparison of oneself with others. With what benefits, and at what price?. The two-sided nature of competition attracted notice already in antiquity. Hesiod reflected on the both the positive and negative effects of competition in human society, mentioning some of the wide variety of endeavors in which competition, or "Strife," as he names it, manifested itself: in warfare and politics, to be sure, but also in the pursuit of livelihoods, professional skills, and artistry (Works and Days 11-32). Competition took many forms: rulers competed with their peers and with historical and mythological predecessors; artists of all kinds emulated generic models and past masterpieces; philosophers and their schools vied with one another to give the best interpretation of the world; athletes and performers strove for victory in front of huge crowds at Olympia and elsewhere. Discord and conflict resulted, but so did innovation, social cohesion, and political stability. In Hesiod's view Eris was not one entity but two, the one a “grievous goddess,” the other and “aid to men.”

Our conference aims not so much to collect individual case studies of competitive endeavors as to examine broader questions about the functioning and effect of competition in ancient society, in both its productive and destructive aspects. We especially invite papers that address examples of ancient (explicit or implicit) reflection on the value of competition (and on the danger of overdoing it), or that deal with structures or institutions that helped to manage it.

FECHA/DATE/DATA: 16-17-18/06/2016

LUGAR/LOCATION/LUOGO: Lipsiusgebouw - Faculteit der Geesteswetenschappen, Universiteit Leiden (Leiden, Netherlands)

ORGANIZADOR/ORGANIZER/ORGANIZZATORE: Cynthia Damon (University of Pennsylvania) ; Christoph Pieper (Universiteit Leiden)

INFO: web -



Thursday, 16 June 2016

16.00 Opening and welcome (Cynthia Damon, Christoph Pieper) 16.15 Keynote lecture Ruth Scodel (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor): "The Zero-Sum Fallacy" 17.05 Keynote lecture Ralph Rosen (University of Pennsylvania), "Competition and the Anxiety of Self-Promotion among Hippocratic Writers"

18.15 Drinks

Friday, 17th June 2016

9.15 Geoffrey Bakewell (Rhodes College), "Kallipolis’ Critique of Competition" 9.55 Inger Kuin (Rijksuniversiteit Groningen), "Competition and Innovation in Aristotle, Politics2" 10.35 Colin Shelton (University of Cincinnati), "Translating Rivalry in Cicero’s Tusculan Disputations" 11.15 Coffee/Tea 11.45 Deborah Steiner (Columbia University), "Choral Contestation: The Embodiment of Eris in the Visual and Textual Representations of Choral Lyric" 12.25 Oliver Taplin (Magdalen College, Oxford), "Aristotle’s Take on Theatre Competitions in his Poetics" 13.05 Lunch (in the Huizinga Building, second floor) 14.15 Seth Bernard (University of Toronto), "Aristocratic Competition and Economic Exchange in Mid-Republican Rome" 14.55 Lewis Webb (Umeå University), "Mihi es aemula: Female Status Competition in the Roman Republic" 15.35 Coffee/Tea 16.05 Helle Hochscheid (University College Roosevelt, Middelburg), "Crafting Competition: Rivaling Sculptors and Rivaling Patrons in Ancient Greece" 16.45 Christopher Siwicki (University of Exeter), "How Non-Elites Sought Recognition in Ancient Rome, the Case of Architects" 17.30 Drinks (Café De Grote Beer)

Saturday, 18th June 2016

10.10 Laurens Tacoma (Universiteit Leiden), "The End of Competition? Elections and Political Culture in Pompeii" 10.50 Fabio Tutrone (Università degli Studi di Palermo), "Veneratio, contentio, profectus: Roman Competition, Intergenerational Reciprocity, and the Western Idea of Progress" 11.30 Coffee/Tea 12.00 Sean Corner (McMaster University), "Convivial Competition: Competition and Cooperation in the Symposium and the City" 12.40 Marcello Lupi (Seconda Università degli Studi di Napoli), "The Role of Competition in Spartan Society" 13.20 Ineke Sluiter/Bob Corthals: Presentation of the 8th volume of the Penn Leiden series: Jeremy McInerney – Ineke Sluiter (eds.), Valuing Landscape in Classical Antiquity. Natural Environment and Cultural Imagination, Brill 2016 (Mnemosyne Supplements 393). 13.35 Lunch (in Lipsius building, room 204) 14.45 Anton Bierl (Universität Basel), "Agonistic Exaggeration in the Iliad and its Solution in Book 23" 15.25 Charles Ham (Grand Valley State University), "The Poetics of Strife and Competition in Hesiod and the Hesiodic Tradition" 16.05 Yelena Baraz (Princeton University), "Certare alterno carmine: Rise and Fall of Bucolic Competition" 16.45 Coffee/Tea 17.05 Casper de Jonge (Universiteit Leiden), "Greece versus Rome: Intercultural Competition in Ancient Literary Criticism" 17.45 Matthew Roller (Johns Hopkins University), "Competition with/in Cooperation: Reflections on the Imperial recitatio" 18.25 Final discussion and closing remarks

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